Free Markets, Free People


ObamaCare and the law of unintended consequences

Today seems to be a “government and the law of unintended consequences” day.  Below you saw the consequences of draconian diet rules.  Here we’ll see the effect of poorly written law and government intrusion into the most effective health care system in the world.  Dr. Scott Gottlieb explains:

President Obama guaranteed Americans that after health reform became law they could keep their insurance plans and their doctors. It’s clear that this promise cannot be kept. Insurers and physicians are already reshaping their businesses as a result of Mr. Obama’s plan.

Gottlieb goes on to explain why the caps on how much an insurer can spend on expenses and take for profits is going to result in huge changes in the way medicine is delivered.  One thing that is rapidly happening now is doctors, seeing the handwriting on the wall, are opting to sell their practices and services to insurance companies and hospitals.  As Gottlieb points out:

Consolidated practices and salaried doctors will leave fewer options for patients and longer waiting times for routine appointments. Like the insurers, physicians are responding to the economic burdens of the president’s plan in one of the few ways they’re permitted to.

That means they’ll work under the rules dictated by either the insurance company or a hospital – in both cases an entity which comes between you and your doctor. It means less choice, less access, fewer doctors available to see depending on your insurance plan.  And the obvious possibility that the doctor you’re now happy with may not be on your plan when all of this falls out.  Gottlieb summarizes:

The bottom line: Defensive business arrangements designed to blunt ObamaCare’s economic impacts will mean less patient choice.

There are other unintended consequences as well that point to less choice.  Texas provides the example:

Texas doctors are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates, frustrated by reimbursement cuts they say make participation in government-funded care of seniors unaffordable.

Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren’t taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.

“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn’t fix Medicare soon, there’ll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress’ promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.”

Remember this is the same government that is now messing with the rest of the system. How will Congress “fix” Medicare?  As is obvious, doctors are dropping out because they can’t afford to stay in that system.  As Dr. Guy Culpepper said:

“You do Medicare for God and country because you lose money on it,” said Culpepper, a graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. “The only way to provide cost-effective care is outside the Medicare system, a system without constant paperwork and headaches and inadequate reimbursement.”

And fewer and fewer doctors are finding they can afford to do Medicare for “God and country” and stay in business.

So you have this new realignment taking place among doctors, hospitals and insurers and a growing trend of doctors opting out of the Medicare system and yet the promise of increased and better care as a result of government meddling is still being parroted by our political betters.

“If you like your doctor and you like your insurance company … blah, blah, blah.” You just have to wonder when we’ll ever learn.

~McQ

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16 Responses to ObamaCare and the law of unintended consequences

  • This just looks like another step in the process.  As things get worse, blame those who are at the mercy of the laws and the government in order to realign things to your taste.  Insurers having trouble coping with the changes?  Chide them for being greedy and inefficient, and replace them with a single payer system.  Businesses dropping plans because it’s more cost effective to dump employees into government exchanges?  Force businesses to subsidize the exchanges!  Are doctors wondering how they are supposed to handle a larger caseload with much lower compensation?  This will likely be handled by more taxes and possibly more legislation that finally forces a lot of doctors to leave the practice, which will probably lead to even more taxes in order to bring compensation to a level that increases the number of doctors.

    I don’t know.  Much like the reform bill, there are a lot of really big problems with what the administration seems to want to do.  And much like the reform bill, the press may not “discover” these issues until after laws and regulations are in place.  And through it all, we will be told that this is a much better way to manage health care.  This is the start of a long and very unpleasant ride.

  • Another thing I have already talked about with my business is breaking our company up into pieces.  The business I work with has over 250 employees and will have to provide health care or pay the federal fine.  However, our competition is typically less than 20 employees/business.

    We are looking at breaking up into 4 smaller businesses in order to remain competitive.

  • The response to the unintended consequences will not be the logical ones of less government control and more free market practices.  No, the response from Washington will be more control, more regulation, and soon, more “penalties” for doctors who refuse to surrender their freedom.
    But, maybe these consequences aren’t unintended after all.  What better way to create a new “crisis” to increase their power?

  • This is very much an intended consequence.  Enough will do this that the Dems can villify and claim another “crisis” and move to single payer.

    • This is very much functioning as intended.  And the elderly, faced with fixed incomes and collapsing Medicare system, will get behind any option including full on socialist system and they won’t need a villian to do it. 

  • As we move toward full “Obama Doesn’t Care” thing will only get worse/

  • Instead of casinos could the Indian reservations start building “free market” hospitals – cash only?  Or how about retro-fitted cruise ships just outside US waters offering state-of-the-art medical care – cash only.  Hmmm….possibilities!

  • Another less publicized aspect of losing doctors revolves around disability.  There are many physicians who, out of a sense of responsibility to patients, have remained in practice despite the fact that they have reliable causes for claims of disability.  I fear that Obamacare will result in many of those doctors closing their practices and retiring on disability/savings thereby leaving healthcare headaches to the peabrains in Washington and greatly exacerbating an already deteriorating situation.  I know because I am one who has already done so.

  • McQYou just have to wonder when we’ll ever learn.

    What do you mean “we”, paleface?!

    ;-)

    But I’m sure that Imeme and the dems will be able to meet this challenge.  I predict:

    — Increasing demonization of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies: “How DARE they refuse to treat senior citizens??!!  Medical care is a RIGHT!!!”

    — This will be followed by crushing taxes / fines and more regulations on any doctor, hospital or insurance company that refuses to play ball.  O’ course, “playing ball” requires that the costs be increasingly shifted to people outside the Medicare system.

    — Finally, when the US medical system collapses and people really DO start dying from want of proper care, Imeme and his idiots will inform us that “the system works”.  Throughout it all, MiniTru will do its part, covering up systemic problems and failures while highlighting “corporate greed” as the cause of people losing their insurance, having to search for a doctor who’ll see them, etc.

    Remember: being a democrat means that everything that goes wrong is ALWAYS somebody else’s fault.

    • How DARE they refuse to treat senior citizens??!!  Medical care is a RIGHT!!!”

      And that, in a nutshell, is the entire refutation.

  • Let’s see those doctors refuse Medicare patients when those patients are escorted by the 82nd Airborne division and singing “We Shall Overcome.”

  • Harun, I hope you’re not the suffering patient when the government puts a gun to the head of your doctor and MAKES him treat you for nothing.  It’s kind of like sending food back to the kitchen with a severe reprimand for the chef.  There very well could be a new flavor on your entree when your plate returns.  Paybacks are hell.